American politics is undergoing seismic changes that will alter the course of history.
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American's Mission Statement read by Senator John F. Kennedy
On July 4th we celebrate the birth of the American Experiment. The Declaration of Independence -- written in the Spring of 1776 by a 33 year old Thomas Jefferson -- is America’s mission statement. And like all mission statements, the words represented not what we were, but what we aspired to be. In fact, the author himself was a gifted writer, but a deeply flawed person who – like his country -- did not embody the ideas and ideal of that document.For more than two hundred and forty years, the story of America has been the struggle between those who want to move us close to the words of our mission statement – and those who want to stop them.It is often forgotten that the Declaration itself was meant to be spoken. In 2004 the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library released a previously unknown 1957 recording of then-Senator Kennedy reading the Declaration of Independence in New York on July 4th.So this week to honor Independence Day -- And to remind ourselves that as a country must continue the struggle to turn America’s founding words into reality – we give John F. Kennedy’s reading of the Declaration of Independence the final word.Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/words-matter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Barack Obama's Eulogy for the Honorable Reverend Clementa Pinckney
On June 26th 2015 President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy at the funeral of the Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney, the senior pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and a South Carolina State Senator.Reverend Pinckney and 8 other Black church members had been murdered a week earlier during Bible Study in a racially motivated mass shooting perpetrated by a white supremacist. The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is one of the oldest Black churches in the United States, and it has long been a center for organizing events related to civil rights. Founded in 1816, the church played an important role in the history of South Carolina, during slavery and Reconstruction, during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s and in the Black Lives Matter movement. It is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church in the South, often referred to as "Mother Emanuel". Rev. Pinckney, was a well known activist who had held rallies after the shooting of Walter Scott by a white police officer two months earlier, in nearby North Charleston. As a state senator, Reverend Pinckney had pushed for legislation requiring police to wear body cameras.The Reverend and his church were targeted because of their history and role in civil rights activism. With a rousing eulogy and a chorus of “Amazing Grace,” President Barack Obama called on the country to honor the nine victims of the South Carolina church massacre by working toward racial healing.He said that included removing the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State House grounds.“It’s true, the flag did not cause these murders,” The President said, but “we all have to acknowledge the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride. For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now.”“By taking down that flag,” he said, “we express God’s grace.” But I don't think God wants us to stop there.“On July 6, 2015, the South Carolina Senate voted to remove the Confederate flag from display outside the South Carolina State House. Make no mistake - the protests we have seen in the last month are a continuation of that struggle. And none of us can stop - none of us should rest until we dismantle and remove every symbol and every fact of the systemic oppression and racial subjugation that President Obama described in his eulogy of Reverend Pinckney. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/words-matter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
American History Tellers -- Lindsay Graham Interview
Not THAT Lindsay Graham. This week we profile one of our favorite podcasts American History Tellers. The Cold War, Prohibition, the Gold Rush, the Space Race. Every part of your life -the words you speak, the ideas you share- can be traced to our history, but how well do you really know the stories that made America? American History Tellers will take you to the events, the times and the people that shaped our nation. And they'll show you how our history affected them, their families and affects you today. Hosted by Lindsay Graham (not the Senator). From Wondery, the network behind Tides Of History, History Unplugged, Fall Of Rome and Dirty John.And check out Lindsay's latest podcast -- American Elections: Wicked GameSubscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you got your podcasts. American Elections: Wicked Game http://wondery.fm/AmericanElectionsWMSupport this show http://supporter.acast.com/words-matter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
President John F. Kennedy on Civil Rights
This week we highlight presidential leadership and one of the most important civil rights speeches ever delivered by a sitting American president.By June of 1963, John F. Kennedy has been president for nearly two and a half years.While Kennedy had long privately expressed his deep moral objections to the treatment of black people in American society and indicated support for New federal legislation. His public comments ranged from cautious moderate criticism to a 1950s version of “both sides-ism” but were mostly nonexistent.In June of 1963, however the man and the moment met.Alabama Governor George Wallace’s staged photo op defiance of federal law by standing in the school house doorway had lasted less than 90 minutes. On June 11th 1963 two black students were peaceful enrolled at the University of Alabama under the protection of a federalized Alabama National Guard commanded by US Marshals under the direction of the Department of Justice and the Attorney General of the United States.Kennedy’s advisors recommended and Fully expected that the president would NOT address the American people that evening. With a little less than 18 months until to the 1964 elections, the President’s legislative agenda and his political future depended upon the votes Southern Democrats in Congress and those of their politically unforgiving constituents. The President had other ideas. Kennedy saw a way to exercise moral leader on an issue where he had to that point failed. He would request Network Television airtime to address the nation on the issue of civil rights. The facts and statistics on racial inequality in the United States described by President Kennedy to the American people that evening had even never been acknowledged by a President before - much less spoken in such a detailed and direct language. In a telegram to the White House after watching the President’s remarks in Atlanta with other civil rights leaders, the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr. described the address as ONE OF THE MOST ELOQUENT, PROFOUND,AND UNEQUIVOCAL PLEAS FOR JUSTICE AND FREEDOM OF ALL MEN, EVER MADE BY ANY PRESIDENT.Dr King knew that Kennedy was moved by his now famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” - written just weeks before. To President Kennedy and many Americans Dr. King’s letter was more than than a spirited defense of civil disobedience. It was an indictment of white indifference.As you listen to the speech, you will hear Kennedy echoing King’s “Letter”The President rejects the idea that Black Americans should have to wait for equality. "Who among us," Kennedy asks the American people, "would then be content with counsels of patience and delay?"Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/words-matter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
ENCORE: Hill Women - with Cassie Chambers
Our guest this week is a writer, lawyer, speaker and an advocate. Cassie Chambers grew up in Eastern Kentucky, graduated from Yale College, the Yale School of Public Health, the London School of Economics, and Harvard Law School, where she was president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, a student-run law firm that represents low-income clients.Cassie received a Skadden Fellowship to return to Kentucky to do legal work with domestic violence survivors in rural communities.In 2018, Cassie helped pass Jeanette’s Law, which eliminated the requirement that domestic violence survivors pay an incarcerated spouse’s legal fees in order to get a divorce.Her new book, Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains, celebrates the amazingly resilient women in her family and the beloved mountain culture that helped shape her.Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/words-matter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
About Words Matter
American politics is undergoing seismic changes that will alter the course of history. Elise Jordan and Steve Schmidt have served at the highest levels in government, politics and media. They are two of the most articulate defenders of personal freedom, individual liberty and the rule of law. Their broad experience in government and Republican politics gives them a unique ability to explain recent events and place them in historic context. Together, with journalists, elected officials, policy-makers and thought-leaders, they will analyze the week's news and get at the real truth behind all the distracting headlines. New episodes released Mondays.